Republika Srpska Prime Minister Aleksandar Dzombic said that he was not satisfied with the slow speed at which war crimes against Serbs were processed.
Dzombic spoke after a meeting with members of the Supervisory Body for monitoring the implementation of the State War Crimes Processing Strategy from Republika Srpska, RS.
“The RS Government will do all it can to ensure the necessary conditions for work on war-crimes cases in district prosecutor’s offices and courts in RS. We are asking the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to refer the cases to Republika Srpska as urgently as possible,” Dzombic said.
Dzombic added that it is particularity important to ensure protection of witnesses, and that in every trial victims and witnesses ought to be supported and given equal treatment.
The State War Crimes Processing Strategy was adopted in late 2008. According to its provisions, all war-crimes cases should be completed in the next 15 years.
The strategy also seeks to ensure that the personnel, technical and infrastructure requirements of the courts in Bosnia and Hercegovina are met, and that protection programs are in place for witnesses
However, from the very beginning, the implementation of the Strategy failed to meet the set deadlines.
In its report covering the first six months of this year, the Supervisory Body said that the goals set under the State War Crimes Processing Strategy were not being implemented.
The members of the body expressed their concern that state-level judicial institutions, such as the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, do not apply the Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia when pronouncing verdicts in war crimes cases, although the Code was in effect when the crimes were committed and was more favourable for all indictees, irrespective of their ethnic affiliation.
The Bosnian state court uses the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina instead, which came into effect in 2003.
The members of the Supervisory Body informed the Prime Minister about the need for the RS Government to approve financial resources for strengthening capacities of prosecutor’s offices with the aim of processing of war crimes cases.
For the past two years the officials from Republika Srpska have been voicing their dissatisfaction with what they see as biased approach to war crimes prosecutions in Bosnia and Hercegovina.
Earlier this year, Bosnian Serb MPs have tried to abolish the State Court and Prosecution claiming they are anti-Serb, but this proposal was rejected by the State Parliament.